…no, I didn’t actually receive an acceptance to Hogwarts. Too bad, though.
But I’m going to be attending the next best thing: A workshop about owls! Yes, a full day of learning and quizzes and questions and charts about OWLS. Yes, the ones that go “hoot” or “skreeeeee!” or any other manner of owl sounds.
And then, my friends, THEN… I will go on an OWL PROWL for two hours on a wintery Friday night with 8 complete strangers, where we’ll search the darkened skies and trees for a hint or a shadow of these elusive winged ones.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well, it doesn’t, really. I just like learning about things. It just so happens that a nearby university offers the occasional nature course, and I have a free day, so… why not?
But I’m not just writing to talk about owls. Rather, let me ask you this:
- Is there something you’re interested in, but have never had the chance to learn about?
- Is there a type of cooking, or crafting, or technology you’ve always wanted to try?
- Do you wish you knew a little more about nature, or gardening, or the butterflies that flit around your window every spring?
- Have you always wanted to learn a new language?
…so… why haven’t you? What’s stopping you? I bet if you Google your area of interest, and your location (or the biggest city near you), you’d find an upcoming course or workshop that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Is your excuse:
“I don’t have enough time!” – Make time. Book a day off work. Get a babysitter. At the end of your life, do you want to feel like you spent a life fulfilled, or do you want to spend your final years regretting that you wasted time on Facebook instead of taking a moment to enjoy the wonders that this world has to offer?
“I don’t have enough money!” – Birthdays? Christmas? Anniversary? Valentine’s Day? If your family does gift lists, put your course or class or interest on the list! Let people know that you want to experience something difference! Tell your significant other or best friend—these are the kind of people who’ll be excited for you, and encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and do something different.
“I’d suck at that. I know I would.” – You literally DO NOT KNOW that until you try. And, what are you basing that on? A bad grade in French class twenty years ago? An embarrassing line-dance incident at your sister’s wedding? Being human is about learning and growing and failing and then trying again. Just because a rabbit bit you when you were seven doesn’t mean all lagomorphs are evil—maybe you’d be a great foster parent for an animal rescue!
All of these excuses SUCK. Yes, that’s right. They SUCK.
Especially if you’re a writer.
If you want to learn something, or try something new, and you’re a writer, why wouldn’t you get out of your comfort zone and do it??? If you never step out of your comfortable little bubble, how can you create realistic human emotions and interactions in your characters? How will you know what to feel or sense or how to react, if you can’t do it yourself? Hearsay is one thing. Real-life experience is another…
The fear of sitting in a classroom for the first time in fifteen years.
The frustration of caring for an injured animal.
The excitement of making your first successful Pad Thai with authentic ingredients.
The satisfaction of knitting a scarf for the first time.
The delight and joy of discovering the wonders of nature.
At the owl workshop, I’m going to be surrounded by biologists and wildlife experts and agriculturists and birders and academics and when we introduce ourselves and explain why we’re there I’m going to stand up and proudly exclaim “I’m here because I’m a writer and I like birds and I love to learn new things.”
It’s going to be awkward. I don’t like strangers. I don’t like talking to other people in new environments. But if I don’t go, I’ll never get to learn about these amazing, mysterious creatures from someone who has make studying birds their life’s work.
I’ll be scared and excited and amazed and nervous and I might want to throw up just a little bit when I step into the room for the first time.
But I’m a writer, and a human being, and that means I need to make the most of the life I was given. I don’t want to be 95-years-old and wishing I’d done more with my life.
So today, I’m encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone… and if not just for the sake of getting excellent fodder and realistic experiences to plug into your writing, then for the sake of your growth as a human being. Let’s say “no!” to becoming stagnant, and “yes!” to everything this incredible world has to offer.
What do you want to learn or try or do that you’ve always been afraid to or just “haven’t got around to it yet”? Why not look into it TODAY?